The S&P 500 rose 0.37% on Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 0.27%, and the Nasdaq added 0.73%. The S&P 500 was less than 50 points from its all-time record close set at the beginning of the week.
The economic calendar in the U.S. on Friday includes the weekly Baker Hughes Rig Count at 1 p.m. EDT.
Gap earned 36 cents a share in the first quarter on revenue of $3.44 billion, topping expectations for earnings of 29 cents a share and revenue of $3.39 billion.
The company also reaffirmed its full-year guidance, estimating earnings of $1.95 to $2.05 a share and for same-store sales to be flat or increase 2%.
3. -- Salesforce.com (CRM - Get Report) saw its shares rise 1.9% in premarket trading on Friday after posting better-than-expected adjusted earnings in the first quarter and after it lifted full-year revenue guidance.
The cloud-software company reported adjusted profit of 28 cents a share, 2 cents above forecasts. Deferred revenue rose 26% to $5.04 billion. Salesforce had warned of a steep drop in first-quarter deferred revenue.
First-quarter revenue from sales cloud rose 14.5% $829.6 million.
Salesforce boosted revenue guidance for the fiscal year ending in 2018 to a range of $10.25 billion to $10.3 billion, ahead of previous forecasts of $10.15 billion to $10.2 billion. Salesforce also raised its forecast for full-year profit to between 6 cents and 8 cents a share.
The Texas power companies are in preliminary talks, some of the people told the Journal, and it's far from certain the talks will lead to a deal. If a merger occurs it would be sizable, but if they do, it would be sizable: Each company has a so-called enterprise value, including debt, of about $10 billion, according to S&P Capital IQ.
Dynegy is a wholesale power producer with 50 plants in 12 states around the country. Vistra operates Luminant, which produces and sells power on the open market, and retail-electricity provider TXU Energy. Adding Dynegy's power stations would broaden Vistra's footprint to the Midwest, Northeast and other parts of the country, the Journal noted.
5. -- Activist investor Bill Ackman on Thursday told hedge fund managers that his single biggest mistake with a particularly troubling large investment in Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) was to rely on management at the drug company.
"We don't need to rely on management with the vast majority of our investments to get a good outcome," Ackman told hedge fund managers at the SALT conference at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. "Our biggest mistake at Valeant was that [our investment] was incredibly dependent on management judgment. We made a big mistake."
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